We will be covering a distance of 1000km walking the length of Israel. Along the way we will be aiming to meet and talk with 100 people and will share their stories. I think hiking and meeting people is the best way to really get to know a country and hope to show a more positive side to Israel which is so often is plagued with negativity from the outside world.
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Who are you doing it with?
It will just be myself and my husband Gil.
Who long will you walk each day and for how long?
Each day will be a different distance depending on the terrain and water sources, but we will be walking an average of 25-30km a day. Every week we will take a day off to rest. The entire trip should take about 2 months to complete.
Where will you be staying?
We will be carrying a tent and sleeping bags and will wild camp each night (basically sleeping where ever you can find a suitable place), although in the desert there are designating camping areas to protect the wildlife. We have already had kind offers of accommodation from people who have heard about the walk and we will take these up when we can as an opportunity to rest properly and to get clean.
Will you shower and how often do you change your clothes?
For the most part we don’t shower! If we come across streams or springs, we can wash but there will be lots of stretches where we won’t have the opportunity to clean properly for days. The weight of our packs is a huge consideration so we only have 3 sets of underwear, 2 t-shirts, 1 fleece, 1 shorts and 1 trousers each. Our T-shirts and underwear we will hand wash at every opportunity but, basically, we are going to be smelly and dirty.
How do you go to the toilet?
Behind a bush!
What if there is no bush?
You go quickly…
Will you eat in restaurants?
We will carry our own food and will stop at petrol stations and towns along the way when we can to resupply. The food will be basic – nuts, dried fruit, bread, couscous, etc. It needs to withstand heat, being moved a lot as well as being light to carry as on some stretches we have to carry up to a weeks worth of food at a time. We will eat in restaurants occasionally to restock our reserves as it will be impossible to maintain the calories we should be consuming along the way.
What equipment are you taking with you?
Check out our full kit list here.
Why are you doing this?!
I love to hike and have always wanted to do a long-distance trek. I’m drawn to the idea that for a few months, my life will only have 1 focus – to walk. I am not in great shape at the moment so this is going to be a huge challenge, especially combined with the heat, but, the satisfaction and reward that comes from pushing yourself will undoubtedly outweigh the difficulties.
A huge motivation for the walk is to raise money for Africa’s Children in Education….something I feel very passionately about. I really hope people get behind us and show their support by donating.
Where do you start and finish, is there a trail you follow?
We start in Kibutz Dan, int he North of Israel and finish in Eilat, on the coast at the red sea. Eilat is conveniently a seaside resort so we hope to celebrate with a few days rest and maybe a bit of diving! The north of Israel is green and mountainous, the centre follow coastline and the south is desert so we should have a variety of terrains. There is a trail that marks the way, called the Israel National Trail.
How will you cross the desert?
The desert is the toughest part of the challenge as there are limited supply points. For this section, we rely on our water being hidden in advance. We will have the information on where the water is hidden so we can find it each day. We have to carry up to 6 litres of water a day in the desert which is seriously heavy and will be a massive challenge. As this is at the end of the walk though, our fitness levels should be at their best by then (I hope).
Isn’t it dangerous?
When people ask this I know what they are thinking – war and terrorist attacks. It is the Middle East after all! I’ve visited Israel 8 times now and, like so many places, can report that it is nothing like the media portrays. It would be ignorant to ignore the unrest in Israel, but, the chances of it affecting us are minimal.
Where danger really lies is in the hiking element of the adventure – falls, snake bites, getting lost and, probably my biggest worry, heat stroke. Adventures always have an element of risk. That’s exactly what draws me to them in the first place. You just have to learn how to manage them. We are both experienced hikers, have done our research on snakes and surviving desert conditions, have the right equipment and are both first aid qualified.
Is it expensive?
Not at all! Walking is free…as is wild camping. Our flight cost us less than $150 return and we are staying with family before and after the trek. I have budgeted an additional $500 which gives us roughly $9 a day. When wild camping and easting basic food from the supermarkets it won’t cost much. Occasionally though I will spend a bit more to have a meal out or to stay in a bedouin camp so I can shower so the daily cost will average out. In total it is costing around $700 – not bad for a 2 month adventure.
For more information, check out my Israel National Trail: budget breakdown
Can I donate?
Yes!!! Please do. Every time someone donates it is a massive morale boost. We have chosen to raise money for Africa’s Children in Education – a great charity doing great work. Thank you for your support!
Do you have any more advice?
Yes, following my trip, I put together a number of useful resources which I hope will help encourage others to do a similar trip:
- An honest review of the Israel National Trail
- A guide to the Israel National Trail
- 22 tips for thru hiking
- Israel National Trail: budget breakdown
- 24 pictures that will make you want to walk the Israel Nationals Trail
- Israel National Trail: Kit List
- My Israel National Trail Itinerary
If you have any questions that I haven’t answered, just let me know in the comments box below and I will get back to you.